The U.N. World Food Program says rising food and fuel prices have resulted in 130 million poor people in those regions falling further into poverty, and aid workers say women are suffering disproportionately, a hidden consequence of the food crisis, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
"It's a cultural thing," Hervé Kone, director of a human rights group in Burkina Faso, told the newspaper. "When the kids are hungry, they go to their mother, not their father. And when there is less food, women are the first to eat less."
A study by Catholic Relief Services revealed many people in Burkina Faso spend 75 percent or more of their income on food, and pregnant women and young mothers sacrifice medical care while some are turning to prostitution to pay for food.
Also, the report said more families in the country are taking girls out of school because they can't pay for fees and clothes, the Post reported.